Transportation

Street Closure
7:40 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Water Main Break Causes Continued Closures

Austin Water crews work on the main break at 2222 near MoPac.
twitter.com/AustinWater

Update: Some lanes remain closed on 2222 Thursday morning after a water main break Wednesday caused part of the roadway to collapse.

Eastbound 2222 is closed between Parkcrest Drive and Balcones. The westbound lanes are open – and traffic on Balcones is open.

Update (April 9, 12:13 p.m.): Austin Water crews are still working to determine the cause and location of the break. Once that is done they can determine some sort of timeline for when repairs will take place, says Austin Water's Jason Hill.

"We brought the water pressure down, so there are a number of customers with low pressure or without water – not a lot at this particular point," Hill says. "Once we get to where the break is we’ll have a better idea of what needs to happen and how many people will actually be shut out during the repair."

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Transportation
8:59 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Why Austin Taxi Drivers Can't Refuse a Ride Based on Destination

Ever been refused a ride by an Austin cab? If it was due to trip length, they broke the law.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Have you ever been denied a cab ride in Austin?

After last week's deadly crash on Red River Street, there's been calls for more and better public transportation and taxi service.

But during special events like South by Southwest, it seems like more and more Austin taxis refuse to take riders for a variety of reasons. Carlton Thomas with the City of Austin’s Parking Enterprise says the most common reason is that "drivers are not interested in taking the short trips."  

He should know, because all complaints about cab drivers come to his department.

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SXSW 2014
10:46 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Why Austin's Restricting Uber Over SXSW

Apps like Uber connect transportation users and providers – but the City of Austin says they're essentially unlicensed taxi companies.
Wikimedia Commons user Bull-Doser

South By Southwest brings a lot of things to Austin: film premieres, start-ups, newsmakers, bands, traffic and tech savvy out-of-towners.

It's that last group that might take umbrage with the city's ride-sharing policy, which outlaws apps like UberLyftSideCar and since-shuttered Austin-based Hey Ride. 

The city contends these services have unregulated – and potentially unsafe – drivers.

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SXSW 2014
6:30 am
Wed March 12, 2014

SXSW Traffic is Terrible. This Street Closure Map Might Help.

Update: Starting today, it’s going to get even tougher to get around downtown. That’s because the music portion of South by Southwest is now underway.

The City of Austin is closing off several exits from I-35 to downtown. Starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday:

  • The I-35 NB and SB exits at  Cesar Chavez will be closed.
  • The I-35 SB exit at 8th Street will be closed.
  • The I-35 NB exit at 6th Street will be closed.

Original Story (March 6, 2014): SXSW provides a great opportunity for people to see bands, films and hobnob with bigwigs in the tech industry.

But road closures in downtown Austin may pose a problem for some travelers.

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Transportation
3:35 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Cutting Down on Traffic With an App: Austin Introduces Carma Carpooling

To find fellow carpoolers, Carma users input their route and commute times and the app connects them to people in their area with similar schedules and destinations.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Disclosure: Carma is a sponsor of KUT. 

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority cut the ribbon today on a new project that could reduce traffic congestion while saving drivers money.

The project is a public-private partnership between the city and state transportation officials, the CTRMA, Texas A&M and a ride-sharing app: Carma.

Carma is based on the concept of "casual carpooling." Paul Steinberg, vice president of business operations for Carma, calls it a mutually beneficial model that affords people rides and grants drivers access to cheaper toll roads and high occupancy vehicle lanes.

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Transportation
12:29 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

How Bad Is It For Fliers Today? Latest 'Misery Map' Shows

Here's where the misery was this morning, according to FlightAware.com.
FlightAware.com

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 12:11 pm

With more than 5,000 flights into or out of the nation canceled today and hundreds more delayed because of the snow and ice storm moving up the East Coast, it's time once again to point to FlightAware.com's "Misery Map."

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Capital Metro
5:04 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Is Capital Metro's New MetroRapid Service Leaving Bus Riders Behind?

Critics say a standing-room-only 1M is a common sight since Capital Metro launched its new MetroRapid service.
Reddit user KidOmni

Disclaimer: Capital Metro is a sponsor of KUT.

Capital Metro's new MetroRapid bus service launched on Sunday. And with the new route came additional service changes some say give short-shrift to existing riders on Cap Metro's most popular lines.

MetroRapid line 801 travels from Southpark Meadows to the Tech Ridge area in North Austin. Its route through the urban core – along South Congress Avenue and Guadalupe Street – parallels Cap Metro's 1L and 1M bus lines, the routes with the highest ridership in Austin. And another route – the 101 Express – traveled largely along the same line. (Read more about service changes.)

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Transportation
7:56 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

How to Rid Roads of Ice? City and State Differ on Methods

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The city and the state cooperated to make icy roads safer for drivers today, sending out a combined 135 trucks to treat some of the 2,000 miles of roads and bridges in Austin. But when it comes to choosing how to treat the ice, Austin Public Works and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) take very different approaches. 

The city employs a reusable sand called dolomite, according to Public Works spokesperson Carolyn Perez.  She says it's better for the environment than some chemical de-icing agents.

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Transportation
1:22 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Blocking One of Austin's New Bus Lanes Could Cost You $500

MetroRapid's 60 foot articulated buses hold up to 100 people at a time.
Spencer Selvidge for KUT News

The Austin City Council is considering an ordinance that would set rules for the city’s new transit lanes.

Bus-only lanes for Capital Metro’s new MetroRapid service are on Guadalupe and Lavaca streets between Martin Luther King Boulevard and Cesar Chavez Street. Other vehicles are only allowed to use the lanes to make right turns.

The new ordinance would make it against the law to stop or park in the lanes. Currently that could be punished with a $25 dollar parking ticket – but the city wants to up that fine to as much as $500 dollars.

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Transportation
2:09 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Officials Discussing Texas-Mexico High-Speed Rail Line

Concrete railroad ties are staged for the construction of the new Brownsville rail bridge.
Reynaldo Leal for the Texas Tribune

A high-speed rail line connecting San Antonio and Monterrey, Mexico, could be less than a decade away from welcoming its first passengers, according to federal and Texas officials who met with Mexican officials in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to discuss the project.

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Transportation
3:45 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Despite Student Protests, Cap Metro to Discontinue North Campus Bus Lines

A Capital Metro shuttle on UT's campus. Route CR will be shortened and renamed CLC, which will operate for one semester before shutting down.
Credit Image courtesy Cap Metro

Tight budgets could leave some UT Austin commuters without a bus line in the upcoming semester, according to Cap Metro. 

The Wickersham Lane (Route WL) shuttle will be eliminated this semester and the Cameron Road route (Route CR) will be shortened this semester, renamed Route Camino La Costa (Route CLC) and then eliminated after the spring semester.  

The transit authority attributes the cutbacks to a persistent lack of funds from UT's Student Services Budget Committee.

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Transportation
4:05 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Highways Are Talking Point as Candidates Take to Road

New section opening of the Grand Parkway in Katy, Texas, Saturday, December 14, 2013.
Texas Tribune

In a speech last month kicking off her campaign to be Texas' first Democratic lieutenant governor in 15 years, state Sen.Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio offered examples of what she considered negligence by the state’s Republican leadership.

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Transportation
11:06 am
Fri December 20, 2013

B-cycle, Austin's Bike Share Program, Rolls Out Saturday

A B-Cycle kiosk, on display at City Hall over the summer. The program’s initial 11 kiosks open this weekend.
Ann Choi for KUT News

Editor's note: KUT is one of 13 founding sponsors of the Austin B-cycle program.

Austin's long-awaited bike share program kicks off tomorrow.

It's called B-cycle, and its inauguration will be small. Only 11 kiosks will be open around the downtown area when the program starts Saturday. That number is expected to grow to 40 by the spring.

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Project Connect
10:12 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Why Highland? Urban Rail Advocates Question Project Connect Process

Project Connect lead Kyle Keahey, presenting his group's initial recommendations last month.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Disclaimer: Project Connect is a KUT sponsor.

Update: The Austin City Council unanimously endorsed two locations for urban rail last night: the Highland Mall region and East Riverside. You can watch citizen testimony and council action on the recommendation.

As KUT reported, investment in those corridors was proposed by Project Connect – a working group of City of Austin, Capital Metro, and other regional transportation officials.

Project Connect named Highland and East Riverside after what it said was a robust, data-driven public input process – but many rail advocates present at the vote last night questioned the process and the decision.

Original story (Dec. 12): To hear Project Connect tell it, they’re practically drowning in data. Project lead Kyle Keahey cited some 45 different measures of information and 11 indices when the group announced its recommendation. (You can look at lots of that data here.)

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Transportation
4:13 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Current Long-Term Plans Do Nothing to Improve Austin’s I-35 Headaches

Daniel Reese for KUT News

This article is written by KUT’s reporting partner the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily). Below, listen to an interview with author Mark Richardson. 

Current long-term plans – such as the 2035 CAMPO Transportation Plan – will do little more than maintain the current level of traffic bottlenecks on Interstate 35 and won’t take enough vehicles off the road to significantly cut commute times, according to a report on traffic congestion on the I-35 corridor through Austin.

The report, Long-Term Central Texas IH 35 Improvement Scenarios, was done by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute as part of a study ordered by the 83rd Texas Legislature. It is a comprehensive look at long-term strategies to alleviate traffic congestion on I-35 between Buda and Round Rock.

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Transportation
3:31 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Report: More Austinites Working from Home, Commuting by Bike or Bus

This map from TexPIRG plots urban areas with the largest changes in commuting by car. Austin has the nation’s third largest decline in individual car commuters.
Credit TexPIRG

Austinites are driving less and using public transportation more.

That’s a finding in a new report [PDF] by the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG), a nonprofit research organization.

According to census data, the proportion of Austin workers that commute by private vehicle fell by 4.5 percent from 2000 to 2011. That’s the third largest decline in the country for an urban area.

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Mopac Improvement Project
12:05 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Weather Postpones New MoPac Construction (Update)

Construction work this week on MoPac includes restriping lanes.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Update: Austin's latest surge of winter weather means postponement of lane restriping work on MoPac.

While lane closures continue, lane restriping  probably won't begin until after Friday's expected rains, and possible freezing precipitation on Saturday. See the tweet below:

Original story (Dec. 9): Construction work on MoPac is about to get underway. Overnight lane closures begin tonight as crews install construction signs in preparation for restriping portions of the road.

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National
6:47 am
Mon December 2, 2013

NYC Commuter Train Was Well Above Speed Limit Before Crash

Search and rescue teams work at the scene of Sunday's passenger train crash in the Bronx. The train crash killed four people and injured dozens more.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:53 pm

Update at 6:50 p.m. ET. Speeding Into Curve; A Mile Or More To Safely Stop:

A commuter train headed into New York City was traveling at 82 mph Sunday morning when it entered a curve where the speed limit was supposed to be 30 mph and derailed, National Transportation Safety Board investigators have concluded. Four people on the train were killed and at least 60 others were injured.

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Mopac Improvement Project
1:30 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

In Austin, Toll Lanes May Give Bus Service a Boost

View from one of Capital Metro's 1M northbound busses at the intersection of 4th and Congress in Austin.
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson

In 2015, an 11-mile stretch of Austin’s MoPac Boulevard will expand to eight lanes from six. The two new lanes will be tolled, giving drivers the chance to pay a premium to avoid the road’s frequent congestion. 

While the toll lanes will help ease traffic on the free lanes, neither the Texas Department of Transportation nor any of the local entities involved in the $200 million project are predicting it will transform MoPac into a free-flowing thoroughfare. With robust population growth projected for the region, MoPac traffic is expected to continue periodically slowing to a crawl for decades. When it does, local officials are optimistic that frustrated commuters will notice that it is not only personal vehicles zipping past them on the toll lanes. 

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Thanksgiving
2:22 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013: Turkey Trot Road Detours, City of Austin Closures

The 2009 ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot in downtown Austin.
flickr.com/dsebourn

Even if you’re staying off the highway this Thanksgiving, your plans might still be affected by holiday schedules and street closures.

Chief among them: the 23rd Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot takes place downtown Thursday morning, with many roads  blocked off until noon. The course, which begins at Auditorium Shores, features a five-mile run, a one-mile walk, and a Stepping Stone School Kids’ K. (See a map of related street closures below.)

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